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Neighboring Scenes Program Offers Highlights of the Best in Recent Latin American Cinema

Neighboring Scenes Program Offers Highlights of the Best in Recent Latin American Cinema

The Film Society of Lincoln Center is presenting Neighboring Scenes, a new showcase of contemporary Latin American cinema co- presented with Cinema Tropical. Taking place January 7-10, this selective slate of premieres highlights impressive recent productions from across the region and exhibits the vast breadth of styles, techniques, and approaches employed by Latin American filmmakers today.

Opening the series is Benjamín Naishtat’s “El Movimento,” a stark, black-and-white snapshot of anarchy in 19th-century Argentina and follow-up to his acclaimed debut, History of Fear. Other highlights include the 2015 Cannes Caméra d’Or winner, César Augusto Acevedo’s “Land and Shade;” the U.S. premiere of Arturo Ripstein’s” Bleak Street,” which has drawn comparisons to Luis Buñuel’s Mexican period; Rodrigo Plá’s Venice Horizons opener “A Monster with a Thousand Heads;” Pablo Larraín’s Silver Bear– winning and Golden Globe-nominated “The Club,” which was also Chile’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar; and more.

With titles from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico, Neighboring Scenes spans a wide geographic range, evidencing the many sites of contemporary Latin American filmmaking. Some of the featured directors are established auteurs, while others have recently emerged on the international festival scene, snagging top prizes and critical accolades at festivals like Cannes, Berlin, Venice, and Locarno.

“El Movimiento”

Dir. Benjamín Naishtat

Argentina, 2015, DCP, 70m

Spanish with English subtitles

Continuing his preoccupation with violence and Argentina’s past,
Benjamín Naishtat (History of Fear, a New Directors/New Films 2014 selection) dramatizes a crucial moment in that nation’s history characterized by
political zealotry and terrorism. Pablo Cedrón portrays the fiery, unhinged leader of a mysterious militia (modeled on Confederacy-era dictator Juan
Manuel de Rosas’s Mazorca) who wantonly roam the pampas in an effort to “purify” and unite society, killing and plundering settlers along the way.
Characters emerge from and disappear into dark expanses—the film is masterfully shot in black and white—heightening its intense, chilling atmosphere.
Funded by the Jeonju Digital Project. Thursday, January 7, 7:00pm (Q&A with Benjamín Naishtat)


Dir. Pablo Chavarria Gutiérrez, Mexico, 2015, DCP, 60m

Spanish with English subtitles

Marked by a light touch and emphasizing openness over
conventional, linear narrative, biologist-turned-filmmaker Pablo Chavarria Gutiérrez documents the rhythms of a man awaiting an important event that never
comes. As he cooks breakfast, naps, paints, tries on sunglasses, and wanders through different rooms in his home, Chavarria Guitérrez lovingly frames
every action in beautiful natural light, allowing each moment to flow to the next while maintaining its own transcendent essence. North American Premiere

Screening with:


Dir. María Alche

Argentina, 2015, DCP, 25m

Spanish with English subtitles

Flawlessly transitioning from a highly naturalistic family tale to something
overtly surreal and back again, “Gulliver” captures the circumstances—imagined or not—of one of those evenings when siblings come to a deeper understanding
of one another. After hanging out at home with their mom (Martín Rejtman regular Susana Pampin) and older sister Mariela (Agustina Muñoz), Agos and Renzo
go to a raging party where Agos ends up drinking too much. Upon stepping outside to recover, the pair wander into a strange but familiar landscape, and
begin to ask questions about the world and themselves.

Sunday, January 10, 5:00pm

“Bleak Street” (La calle de la amargura) 

Dir. Arturo Ripstein

Mexico/Spain, 2015, DCP, 99m

Spanish with English subtitles

Based on a true story, the latest
feature by Arturo Ripstein is an unflinching look at the mean streets of El Defectuoso. Two prostitutes Adela (Nora Velázquez) and Dora (Patricia Reyes
Spíndola) are burdened by horrible marriages and financial problems stemming from their long-departed youth. In an attempt to make ends meet, they drug
and rob dwarf twins (Juan Francisco Longoria and Guillermo López)—who themselves barely scrape by as doubles for professional luchadores. Ripstein
masterfully contrasts the grittiness of alleyways and seedy apartments with gliding Steadicam cinematography, siding with neither the victims nor the perpetrators. A Leisure Time Features release.

U.S. Premiere Sunday, January 10, 3:00pm

“The Club” (El Club)

Dir. Pablo Larraín, Chile, 2015, DCP, 98m

Spanish with English subtitles

Pablo Larraín (director of “No” and “Post Mortem”) continues to
explore the long shadows of Chile’s recent past with this quietly scathing film about the Catholic Church’s concealment of clerical misconduct. Four aging
former priests peacefully live out their days together in a dumpy seaside town, focused on training their racing greyhound rather than doing penance for
their assorted crimes. Their idyll is shattered when a fifth priest arrives and, confronted by one of his victims, commits suicide. A young priest begins
an investigation into the retirees’ pasts, setting off a series of events that call into question faith, piety, and complicity. Winner of the Silver Bear
at the 2015 Berlinale and Chile’s Oscar submission. A Music Box Films release.

Sunday, January 10, 9:00pm

“The Gold Bug, or Victoria’s Revenge”
(El escarabajo de oro o Victorias Hamnd)

Dir. Alejo Moguillansky & Fia-Stina Sandlund

Argentina/Denmark/Sweden, 2014,
DCP, 102m

Spanish and Swedish with English and Spanish subtitles

Fusing elements of Edgar Allan Poe’s titular short story and Robert Louis Stevenson’s
Treasure Island, Alejo Moguillansky and Fia-Stina Sandlund’s meta-film follows an Argentine-Swedish co-production in Buenos Aires shooting a biopic of the
19th-century realist author and proto-feminist Victoria Benedictsson. After a hustling actor finds a treasure map detailing the location of ancient gold
hidden near a town in the Misiones province named after the 19th-century politician Leandro N. Alem, he successfully persuades the producers to reframe the
project as a portrait of the radical Alem (swapping feminist politics for anti-Eurocentric ones) and move the production there—so he can better search for
the treasure. Fast-paced and hilariously self-reflexive, the film takes a playful approach to texts and history that is reminiscent of Borges.

January 7, 9:00pm

“Hopefuls” (Aspirantes)

Dir. Ives Rosenfeld

Brazil, 2015, DCP, 71m

Portuguese with English subtitles

Focused on the alluring promise of wealth and fame that professional soccer holds
for Brazilian youth, Ives Rosenfeld’s directorial debut features a host of excellent performances from its cast. Junior (Ariclenes Barroso) ekes out a
living working nights at a warehouse while playing by day in an amateur league with his talented best friend Bento (Sergio Malheiros). When Bento gets
signed to a professional team, Junior struggles with his crippling jealousy—which becomes heightened by his pregnant girlfriend and alcoholic uncle.
Artfully lensed and deliberately paced, the film silently builds toward a legitimately shocking climax that provides a grim reality check. Sunday, January
10, 7:00pm (Q&A with Ives Rosenfeld)

“It All Started at the End”
(Todo comenzó por el fin)

Dir. Luis Ospina

Colombia, 2015, DCP, 208m

Spanish with English subtitles

Luis Ospina (The Vampire of
Poverty, Paper Tiger) turns the camera toward his radical roots—and his own intestines—for this documentary about the Cali Group, the Colombian artists’
collective that revolutionized art, cinema, and literature amid drug-related terrorism in the 1970s and ’80s. Boasting a wide array of never-before-seen archival material, Ospina (the group’s only surviving member, who was
diagnosed with cancer during the making of the film) focuses on telling the stories of co-founders Andrés Caicedo and Carlos Mayolo. Never maudlin or
self-important, this kaleidoscopic inside view of “Caliwood” is essential viewing for anyone looking for darkly comic, anarchic inspiration. U.S. Premiere

Saturday, January 9, 2:00pm (Q&A with Luis Ospina)


Dir. Jayro Bustamante

Guatemala 2015, DCP, 93m

Kaqchikel and Spanish with English subtitles

Maria (María Mercedes Coroy) is set to marry a much older
foreman at the coffee plantation, but she has a crush on Pepe, who has fanciful dreams of getting rich in the U.S. After consummating their flirtation,
Pepe leaves for the States—without Maria, who soon learns she is expecting a baby. A difficult pregnancy assisted only by traditional medicine finally
leads her to the hectic big city, but on very grim terms. Shot in collaboration with the Kaqchikel Mayans of Guatemala’s coffee-growing highlands, Jayro
Bustamante’s exquisitely shot debut feature (winner of a top prize at the Berlinale and Guatemala’s Oscar submission) explores what tradition and modernity
mean for women living in marginalized communities. A Kino Lorber release.

Friday, January 8, 7:00pm

“Land and Shade” (La tierra y la sombra)

Dir. César Augusto Acevedo

Colombia, 2015, DCP, 94m

Spanish with English subtitles

A poetic and devastating statement
on how environmental issues impact every aspect of life, César Augusto Acevedo’s Camera d’Or–winning directorial debut is not to be missed. The elderly
Alfonso (Haimer Leal) returns to the small house in Valle del Cauca he left 17 years earlier in order to care for his bedridden son Geraldo (Edison
Raigosa), who suffers from a mysterious ailment related to the harsh farming techniques of the sugar-cane plantations around them. Tensions quietly simmer
between Alfonso and his ex-wife (the wonderful Hilda Ruiz), but familial ties and pride keep them tied to the land in Acevedo’s meditative and painterly

Friday, January 8, 9:00pm


Dir. Dominga Sotomayor

Chile, 2014, DCP, 70m

Spanish with English subtitles

Reminiscent of the films of Josephine Decker and Joe Swanberg, this low-key
drama centers on the problems between Martin, aka Mar (Lisandro Rodríguez), and his girlfriend, Eli (Vanina Montes). On vacation in the Argentine resort
town of Villa Gesell, conflicts arise concerning expectations and long-term commitments—having a baby, home ownership—but get pushed aside or elided. A
visit from Martin’s gregarious, wine- guzzling mother and a random act of God threaten to push the couple to breaking point. Dominga Sotomayor matches her
characters’ frustrations with the film’s expert framing, which often obscures faces and bodies, visually emphasizing their mutual misunderstanding.

Saturday, January 9, 6:30pm Q&A with Dominga Sotomayor)

A Monster with a Thousand Heads ( Un monstruo de mil cabezas)

Dir. Rodrigo Plá

Mexico, 2015, DCP, 74m

Spanish with English subtitles

Developed in tandem with his wife’s novel of the same title, Rodrigo Plá (The Delay, The Zone) crafts another airtight thriller, this time taking on a
health-insurance system that prefers profit to adequate medical care. Refused treatment that would alleviate her terminally ill husband’s pain—yet not the
frustrations of dealing with maddening bureaucracy—Sonia (Jana Raluy) snaps and, gun in hand, single-mindedly goes up the chain of command with a
vengeance. The series of increasingly harrowing provocations are interspersed with moments of dark comedy, and coalesce into a final, shocking climax.

Saturday, January 9, 8:30pm (Q&A with Rodrigo Plá)

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